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Is My Friend Really Married
  
There are two kinds of marriage: Biblical Marriage, Civil marriage.

The state may or may not recognize religious weddings and vice-versa - such as the Catholic Church at one time did not recognize weddings outside the Catholic Church as valid.

In the eyes of the state, one can be married by obtaining a license that is essentially a contract or one can be married under "common law" which varies by state. Licenses have only been around for a couple hundred years.

Biblically, the Bible states that some had married Christ to prostitutes by sleeping with them. In biblical times a man gave his wife a marriage contract (a ketubah) promising her certain things and then, once they had consummated, they were married.


Where Are Scriptures About Smoking
  
The fuss about whether it's a sin to smoke falls under several categories:

1. Adding to Scripture
2. Confusing what is "Christian" with current social mores
3. A tendency to judge others by ones own convictions rather than allowing the Lord to convict others
4. Pride in being a "superior Christian"


Should Abortions Be Illegal
  
Based on the penalties involved, the Bible does not equate abortion with murder - accidental murder carried the death penalty while accidentally killing the unborn was punished with a fine.

That being said, I am not pro-abortion. I am against Christians working to pass laws to force non-believers to act in accordance with Christian mores as a substitute for evangelism. The Church needs to be there before a woman gets pregnant with an unwanted child with the Gospel, not working to pass laws to punish her for being a sinner.

Or, put another way, if we work to pass laws to make unbelievers act like Christians, how then will we present an example to the World.


Did Jesus Tithe
  
Tithing is often misunderstood and mis-taught, a few points:

1. Even though the Temple tax was required to be paid with money, it was forbidden to pay the tithe with money.

The tithe was 10% of the amount of lifestock and produce stores calculated periodically - not 10% of every seed, but 10% of the increase in amount of seed you had 3 years ago.

The tithe only applied to farmers in the Promised Land

The tithe was not given to the Temple, the priests cooked it, kept a portion of the tithe and returned the rest to the tither who fed it to his family and strangers - essentially an early welfare program.



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